Interview: Artefakt [Semantica, Delsin Records]
Artefakt is a collaboration between Dutch producers Robin Koek and Nick Lapien that share a love formelancholic, hypnotic voodoo music. Joining their perspectives in a meticulous, hands-on working method, the two bring a balanced and hypnotizing sound to the club.
Dutch pair step away from their own new label De Stijl and onto Svreca’s celebrated deep techno outlet Semantica for a fantastic sophomore album entitled ‘Monsoon’.
TF: Hello guys... where did you studied and who influenced you to explore musical processes?
AFT: We both studied at the faculty of music & technology in Hilversum, the Netherlands. Nick followed a specialization in Composition and Robin acquired a Master in Sound Design, we both finished our education in 2011. In terms of musical influence we were both raised in families where music was always important so one can say from an early age. In our teenage years we both got introduced to the sound of detroit techno as well as more hiphop and experimental electronics, this paved the way to lot of the music that still inspires us today.
TF: You live in Berlin. How does this place influence you as an artist?
AFT: Berlin is a very dynamic and creative city which definetely feeds back into working here. Its a place with a lot dreams and full of people who really dedicate their life to becoming professionals our sustaining a career in electronic music and other arts, this brings a unique energy. At the same time the density and intensity can also be saturating at times, but these are the times the lakes and nature around Berlin is very comforting and provides an escape to the city that never sleeps.
TF: How do you compose you tracks? Do you treat them like musical narratives or more like sound sculptures o images?
AFT: It actually depends per project a bit which elements get the focus in the process. For the work we do on Field or Delsin we might focus more on narrative quality in music, as wherein the Monsoon album takes a more sculptural approach to composition. Our way of composing starts from rough sound concepts normally, can be a harmonic concept or rhythmical and then we iterate upon this and start layering and dissecting this in the studio, crystallizing the idea into a structure.
TF: Can you describe from beginning to end how your new 'Monsoon' album – is made?
AFT: The album is a collection of mostly new works, which we made during 2018 in our studio's in Berlin. Some tracks started as sketches in transit while touring, composing the first ideas on a train or plane and then refining those in the studio. We also revisited old drafts and looked at these with a new perspective. In general we really wanted to focus on atmospheric story-telling on this album and for this reason we also worked a lot with field recordings and similiar ideas of 'sonic environments'. The final creation phase and selection of tracks has been in close dialogue with Enrique (a.k.a. Svreca) who curates Semantica. He has great intuition and also allows for artistic freedom so the whole process of coming to the final record felt really organic.
TF: What new hardwares did you apply to make 'Monsoon' album. Do you have a particular method while working in the studio?
AFT: As for hardware the Sony PCM D100 has been important as one of the main field recorders used. We always make photography and audio recordings during tours and this feeds back into the work. For Monsoon we also added new software workflows, adding VCV Rack into the sound generation pallette and also performing the final mixdown in Logic Pro X, before we used to both compose and mix all in Ableton Live but it felt like a good time to innovate the workflows and see what is possible switching from DAW once the arrangement phase is completed.
TF: Do you pay attention to the strong reactions of others to your work? Does that affect what you create?
AFT: We really appreciate feedback and response from our listeners and the engagement. Nevertheless when we go into the studio we just follow our intuition and don't really focus on tapping into something which is current right now or so and trying to shift our sound in this direction or trying to recreate that one track that worked well. Our philosophy always has been: "first we make the music we want to make and after we will really see where it fits", to reverse this way of thinking might really constrain the creative outcomes.
TF: Which musicians or artists have been an inspiration for you ?
AFT: That is really an impossible question to be honest as to name a few names here would not do justice to the tremendous variety of artists who inspire us with their work and it feels hard to put more weight on a particular artist over the other, this also very much based on periods in life and will ever evolve and shift.
TF: What are the forthcoming projects for Artefakt?
AFT: We are working 2 new EP's and very slowly collecting ideas for an ambient album. Otherwise we are focussed on our label De Stijl and there will be regular output from Artefakt here is well next our own side-projects and other artists we like to give a platform.
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